Blueberries are often called a “superfood.” This small but mighty berry is loaded with nutrients . They may help lower blood pressure, prevent heart disease, improve memory, aid in exercise recovery, and more.
Blueberries are sweet, nutritious and wildly popular.
Often labeled a “superfood,” they are low in calories and incredibly good for you.
They’re so tasty and convenient that many people consider them their favorite fruit.
Here are 10 proven health benefits of blueberries.
The blueberry bush (Vaccinium sect. Cyanococcus) is a flowering shrub that produces berries with a bluish, purple hue — also known as blueberries (
It is closely related to similar shrubs, such as those that produce cranberries and huckleberries.
Blueberries are small — around 0.2–0.6 inches (5–16 millimeters) in diameter — and feature a flared crown at the end.
They are green in color when they first appear, then deepen to purple and blue as they ripen.
The two most common types are (
- Highbush blueberries: The most common cultivated variety in the US.
- Lowbush or “wild” blueberries: Typically smaller and richer in some antioxidants.
- Fiber: 3.6 grams
- Vitamin C: 16% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin K: 24% of the DV
- Manganese: 22% of the DV
- Small amounts of various other nutrients
They are also about 85% water, and an entire cup contains only 84 calories, with 21.5 grams of carbohydrates.
Calorie for calorie, this makes them an excellent source of several important nutrients.
The blueberry is a very popular berry. It is low in calories but high in fiber, vitamin C and vitamin K.
The main antioxidant compounds in blueberries belong to a family of polyphenol antioxidants called flavonoids.
One group of flavonoids in particular — anthocyanins — is thought to be responsible for much of these berries’ beneficial health effects (
Blueberries may have the highest antioxidant capacity of all the popular fruits and vegetables. Flavonoids appear to be the berries’ antioxidant with the greatest impact.
Oxidative DNA damage is an unavoidable part of everyday life. It is said to occur in every cell in your body, every day (
Because blueberries are high in antioxidants, they can neutralize some of the free radicals that damage your DNA.
Several studies suggest that blueberries and blueberry juice reduce DNA damage, which is a leading driver of aging and cancer.
Oxidative damage is not limited to your cells and DNA.
It is also problematic when your “bad” LDL cholesterol is oxidized.
In fact, oxidation of “bad” LDL cholesterol is a crucial step in the heart disease process (
A daily 2-ounce (50-gram) serving of freeze-dried blueberries lowered LDL oxidation by 28% over 8 weeks in people with obesity (
Another study determined that eating 2.5 ounces (75 grams) of blueberries with a main meal significantly reduced the oxidation of “bad” LDL cholesterol (
The antioxidants in blueberries have been shown to reduce a predominant risk factor for heart disease by preventing oxidative damage to “bad” LDL cholesterol.
In an 8-week study, people with obesity who had had a high risk of heart disease noted a 4%–6% reduction in blood pressure after consuming 2 ounces (50 grams) of freeze-dried blueberries per day (
Regular blueberry intake is tied to lower blood pressure in numerous studies.
While eating blueberries may lower blood pressure and oxidized LDL cholesterol, it’s important to keep in mind that these are risk factors — not actual diseases.
A study in 93,600 nurses found that those with the highest intake of anthocyanins — the main antioxidants in blueberries — were at a 32% lower risk of heart attacks compared to those with the lowest intake (
Because this was an observational study, it cannot prove that the anthocyanins alone caused the reduction in risk.
More studies are needed before any claims can be made.
Some evidence indicates that eating fruits rich in anthocyanins — such as blueberries — is associated with a reduced risk of heart attacks.
Oxidative stress can accelerate your brain’s aging process, negatively affecting brain function.
They appear to benefit aging neurons, leading to improvements in cell signaling.
Human studies have also yielded promising results.
A 6-year study in over 16,000 older individuals found that blueberries and strawberries were linked to delays in mental aging by up to 2.5 years (
The antioxidants in blueberries seem to benefit your brain by aiding brain function and delaying mental decline.
Blueberries provide moderate amounts of sugar compared to other fruits.
However, the bioactive compounds in blueberries appear to outweigh any negative impact of the sugar when it comes to managing blood sugar.
Research suggests that anthocyanins in blueberries have beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. These anti-diabetes effects have been observed with both fresh and freeze-dried berries (
Improved insulin sensitivity may lower the risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, which are associated with a range of negative health outcomes (
Several studies demonstrate that blueberries have anti-diabetes effects, improving insulin sensitivity and lowering blood sugar levels.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common problem for people assigned female at birth.
It is widely believed that cranberry juice can help prevent these types of infections (
Because blueberries are closely related to cranberries, they boast many of the same active substances as cranberry juice (
These substances are called anti-adhesives and help prevent bacteria like E. coli from binding to the wall of your bladder (
While blueberry extract shows some promise for anti-adhesive effects, no studies have evaluated the impact of blueberries on UTIs, so it’s probably better to stick with cranberries for this purpose.
Like cranberries, blueberries contain substances that can prevent certain bacteria from binding to the wall of your bladder. More research is needed to find out if blueberries can help prevent UTIs.
Strenuous exercise can lead to muscle soreness and fatigue.
Blueberry supplements may lessen the damage that occurs at a molecular level, minimizing soreness and reduced muscle performance.
In a small study in 10 female athletes, blueberries accelerated muscle recovery after strenuous leg exercises (
One study suggests that blueberries may aid muscle recovery after strenuous exercise, though more research is needed.
Blueberries are incredibly healthy and nutritious.
They boost your heart health, brain function and numerous other aspects of your body.
What’s more, they’re sweet, colorful and easily enjoyed either fresh or frozen.